Indiana New Resident Guide

Welcome to Indiana! As a new driver to this state you will need to be aware of our unique traffic laws and regulations. Here's what you need to keep in mind while driving in Indiana. Some of these rules may be the same as what you're already used to, but others will be drastically different!

Licensing and Residency Requirements

  • When you become a resident of Indiana, you have 60 days to obtain a new Indiana driver's license if you hold a valid driver's license from another state.
  • You must title and register your vehicles in Indiana within 60 days of becoming an Indiana resident and will need to visit a BMV branch to complete this transaction.

Graduated Licensing Program

Learner's Permit


  • Must be age 15 and enrolled in a driver education course OR age 16 without driver education

Privileges and Restrictions

  • If the holder is 15
    • This permit allows a holder to operate a motor vehicle while the holder is participating in an approved driver education course with a certified driving instructor in the front seat of a vehicle equipped with dual brake controls
    • After the holder begins the driver education class, they may also practice driving when a parent, step-parent or guardian, who has a valid driver's license and is at least 25 years old is seated in the vehicle's front passenger seat.
  • If the holder is 16
    • The holder may practice driving only when a parent, guardian, step-parent or other relative who is 25 years of age or older, and who has their valid driver's license with them is seated in the vehicle's front passenger seat.
    • If the learner's permit applicant is school age, and either habitually misses class, is under suspension for a second time during the same school year, is under expulsion from school, or withdrawn from school for reasons other than proven financial hardship, then the applicant is not eligible to receive his or her learner's permit until age 18.

Probationary License


  • Must be 16 years and 180 days with completion of a driver education program OR 16 years and 270 days without driver education.
  • The permit must be held for 180 days and the permit holder must complete 50 hours of certified driving practice, including 10 hours at night.

Privileges and Restrictions

  • During the first 180 days of the intermediate stage, unless accompanied by a licensed adult over the age of 25 or for lawful employment, school sanctioned activities, or a religious event, teens may not drive between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Thereafter, until age 18, teens may not drive between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Saturday and Sunday ("late night" Friday and Saturday) or between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Sunday through Friday.
  • Also, intermediate license holders may not have any passengers for the first 180 days, unless supervised by a licensed driver over the age of 25. Exempts siblings, spouse, and/or children of the driver.

Unrestricted License

An unrestricted license can be obtained at age 18. Intermediate licenses automatically expire 30 days after a driver's 21st birthday.

Violation Point Counts

The amount of points that go against your driver's license for specific types of violations.

8 Point Violations

  • Driving while suspended
  • Speed contest on road
  • Fail to yield to emergency vehicle

6 Point Violations

  • Failure to yield
  • Following too closely
  • Disregard stop/yield sign
  • 26+ MPH over speed limit

4 Point Violations

  • Improper motorcycle passenger
  • Improper motorcycle headgear
  • Unsafe lane movement
  • Improper U-turn
  • 16 - 25 MPH over the speed limit

2 Point Violations

  • No brake or signal lights
  • Failure to use headlights
  • 1 - 15 MPH over the speed limit

How Long Points Stay on Record

Points stay active on an individual's driving record for two years from the conviction date of the violation.

Indiana uses points to track unsafe drivers. The point value relates to the seriousness of the offense in posing a risk to traffic safety. Indiana does not use points to mandate suspensions.

Insurance Requirements

Every driver and every owner of a motor vehicle must have evidence of continuous financial responsibility. Failure to comply can result in the suspension of the person's current driver's license or vehicle registration or both.

The required minimum amounts of financial responsibility are:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury to or the death of 1 individual;
  • $50,000 for bodily injury to or the death of 2 or more individuals in any 1 accident;
  • $10,000 for damage to property in 1 accident.

Headlight Laws

You must dim your headlights from high to low beam when you are within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle or within 200 feet of a vehicle traveling ahead of you.

You must use your headlights:

  • Between sunset and sunrise
  • At any other time in which visibility is less than 500 feet

There is no specific law allowing or prohibiting headlight flashing.

Implied Consent Laws

Limited Criminal

  • Under a separate implied consent law, a driver involved in a fatal or serious bodily injury accident may be asked by a law enforcement officer to submit to a chemical test.
  • A person does not have to submit to this test if offered but refusal is a Class C Infraction or Class A infraction (if one previous) with a possible fine of up to $500. The court may impose a license suspension for one 1 year.


1-year suspension. May not be mandatory if there is a DWI conviction. A driver's license may be reinstated if the DWI charges are dismissed.

DUI Penalties

Intoxicated Offense (BAC greater than or equal to .08 but

First offense (Class C Misdemeanor)

  • Up to 60 days imprisonment
  • Up to $500 fine
  • 90 days - 2 years suspension

Subsequent offense (within 5 years) (Class D Felony)

  • 6 months - 3 years imprisonment
  • 6 months - 3 years imprisonment
  • If second offense, may be ordered to complete at least 180 hours of community service OR be imprisoned for at least 5 days
  • If third offense, may be ordered to complete at least 360 hours of community service OR be imprisoned for at least 10 days
  • 180 days - 2 years suspension

Endangerment Intoxicated Offense (BAC greater than or equal to .15)

First offense (Class A Misdemeanor)

  • Up to 1 year
  • Up to $5,000 fine

Subsequent offense (within 5 years) (Class D Felony)

  • 6 months - 3 years imprisonment
  • Up to $10,000 fine

Child endangerment (passenger younger than 18)

  • Class D Felony
  • 6 months - 3 years imprisonment
  • Up to $10,000 fine

Ignition interlock

Under some circumstances, an offender may be granted probationary/restricted driving privileges on the condition that the person only operates vehicles equipped with ignition interlock devices.

Open Container Law

The Open Container Law prohibits possession of an open alcoholic beverage container in the passenger area of any motor vehicle, by any occupant of the vehicle, on any public highway or right of way, whether or not the vehicle is in motion.

Red Light Violation Fines

Indiana does not have a state law governing red light violation fines.

Construction Zone Penalties

Speeding violations are subject to enhanced fines of $300 for a first offense, $500 for a second offense, and $1,000 for a third offense within three years.

Under a separate law, aggressive driving and reckless endangerment of workers in a highway work zone is punishable as follows:

  • Class A misdemeanor for reckless or aggressive driving: one year in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.
  • Class D felony for injuring a worker: three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
  • Class C felony for killing a worker: eight years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Turn Signal Information

Signal your intention to turn or change lanes at least 100 feet in advance. If the speed limit is 50 miles per hour or more, you must signal at least 300 feet in advance.

Hazard Light Information

Hazard light use is permitted for the purpose of warning other drivers of the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring the exercise of unusual care in approaching, overtaking or passing.

Funeral Procession Right-of-Way Laws

  • The law gives funeral processions the right-of-way at intersections when headlights are lit and the lead vehicle has alternatively flashing red and blue lights.
  • The lead vehicle must comply with stop signs and traffic lights, but once it has done so, all the following vehicles can proceed without stopping, provided they exercise due caution.
  • The procession must yield to an approaching emergency vehicle or when directed by a police officer.
  • Vehicles not in the procession cannot enter it unless directed by a police officer and other vehicles cannot join the procession and turn on their headlights in order to gain the right-of-way granted to the procession.

School Bus Laws


  • Vehicles are required to stop unless the bus is on the opposite roadway of a divided highway.


  • Failure to stop and remain stopped when required may be considered:
    • Class A infraction: Failure to stop before reaching a school bus when the arm signal device is extended, or remain stopped while the arm signal device is extended.
      • Punishable by up to a $10,000 judgment.
    • Class B misdemeanor: Recklessly passing a school bus when the arm signal device is extended.
      • Punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.

Bicyclist Passing Distance

There is no specific law regarding minimum safe passing distance.

Motorcycle Laws


  • The operator of a motorcycle may have either a motorcycle learner's permit or a commercial or a regular driver's license, chauffeur's license, or public passenger chauffeur's license with a motorcycle endorsement.
  • A temporary motorcycle learner's permit can be issued to a person who holds a valid operator, chauffeur or public passenger chauffeur base license and passes a vision screening and motorcycle knowledge test. A learner's permit allows the driver to drive on the highway for a period of 1 year as long as the driver wears a helmet, does not carry passengers, and only operates the motorcycle during daylight hours.
  • A motorcycle license endorsement may be issued if the operator passes a motorcycle skills test or provides proof of completing the Motorcycle Operator's Safety Education Training course as well as a vision screening or has a current motorcycle operator endorsement or license from any other jurisdiction and successfully completes the written test.
  • A motorcycle learner's permit cannot be issued to a person younger than 16 and 180 days of age.

Protective Gear

  • Helmets and eye protection are required for all riders and passengers under the age of 18.


  • Daytime use of headlight is required for vehicles manufactured after January 1, 1956.

Sharing the Road

  • Lane splitting is not authorized.
  • Two motorcycles may travel side-by-side in a single lane.

Using the Shoulder to Pass

You may not drive off the roadway to pass on the right.

Passing Laws

Do Not Pass:

  • When approaching or upon a hill or curve;
  • When approaching within 100 feet of or traversing any intersection or railroad grade crossing;
  • When approaching within 100 feet of any bridge, viaduct, or tunnel.

When Being Passed:

  • Give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle;
  • The overtaking vehicle may signal by honking its horn;
  • Do not increase the speed of your vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

Speed Limits

  • On an interstate or defense highway located outside an urban area with a population at least 50,000
    • 65 MPH for vehicles having a declared gross weight greater than 26,000 lbs
    • 70 MPH for all other vehicles
  • 65 mph on:
    • (A) U.S. 20 from the intersection of U.S. 20 and County Road 17 in Elkhart County to the intersection of U.S. 20 and U.S. 31 in St. Joseph County;
    • (B) U.S. 31 from the intersection of U.S. 31 and U.S. 20 in St. Joseph County to the boundary line between Indiana and Michigan; and
    • (C) a highway classified by the Indiana Department of Transportation as an INDOT Freeway.
  • 60 mph on a highway:
    • (A) not designated part of the national system of interstate and defense highways;
    • (B) has four (4) or more lanes;
    • (C) is divided into two (2) or more roadways by:
      • (i) an intervening space that is unimproved and not intended for vehicular travel;
      • (ii) a physical barrier; or (iii) a dividing section constructed to impede vehicular traffic; and (D) is located outside an urbanized area.
  • 55 mph on other highways.
  • 30 mph in an urban district.
  • 15 mph in an alley.

Safety Belt and Child Safety Seat Laws

Safety Belts

  • Occupants 16 years and older must wear safety belts.
  • Police may stop vehicles solely for belt law violations.
  • The fine for a first offense is $25.

Child Seats

  • Children 7 years and younger must be in a child seat.
  • Children 8 through 15 years must be restrained, and may use an adult safety belt.
  • Children weighing more than 40 pounds may be restrained by a lap belt only if the vehicle is not equipped with lap and shoulder belts, or if all lap and shoulder belts other than those in the front seat are being used to restrain other children younger than 16.
  • Police may stop vehicles solely for child seat law violations.
  • The fine for a first offense is $25.
  • Points will be assessed for a violation of this law.

Emergency Vehicle Laws

Move Over

  • When you see any of these vehicles displaying flashing lights while stopped on or adjacent to the roadway:
    • Emergency vehicles;
    • Recovery vehicle;
    • Utility service vehicle;
    • Road, street, or highway maintenance vehicle.
  • You must do the following:
    • If on a highway with at least 4 lanes, 2 of which are proceeding in the same direction as the approaching vehicle, make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to that of the authorized emergency vehicle, if possible with due regard to safety and traffic conditions;
    • If changing lanes would be impossible or unsafe, reduce the speed of the vehicle to a speed at least 10 MPH less than the posted speed limit, maintaining a safe speed for road conditions.


  • Do not follow a fire apparatus traveling in response to a fire alarm closer than 500 feet, or drive into or park within the block where the fire apparatus has stopped in answer to a fire alarm.

Collision Procedures

  • Stop at the scene or as close as possible without obstructing traffic more than necessary, and remain at the scene until all requirements are fulfilled.
  • If the accident has resulted in injury, death, or entrapment, notify the nearest police department immediately. If the driver is unable to make the report, any other occupant of the vehicle who is able to must do so.
  • If the accident has resulted in property damage only, move the vehicle off the roadway as soon as possible.
  • You must provide the following information to any other person involved in the accident, or any police officer at the scene of the crash:
    • Driver's name and address;
    • Owner's name and address;
    • Name and address of any other vehicle occupants at time of crash;
    • Vehicle registration number;
    • Provide proof of financial responsibility;
    • Provide driver's license.
  • Render assistance
    • Provide assistance to any injured person, including transporting them or making arrangements for transportation to a hospital or doctor, if necessary or requested, and removal of any entrapped person from the vehicle in which the person is entrapped
    • If the injured person is unconscious, appears deceased, or is otherwise unable to communicate, you must contact medical services and local law enforcement to report the accident and request assistance.
  • Unattended vehicle or property
    • If you have collided with a vehicle that is unattended, locate and notify the operator or owner of the driver's name and address and the owner's name and address. If you are unable to do so, leave a written notice providing this information and a statement of the circumstances.
    • If you have collided with other unattended property on or adjacent to a highway, locate and notify the owner of the driver's name and address, the vehicle registration number, and show your driver's license if requested. If you cannot locate the owner, notify the sheriff's department or the state police.